Do you know what the CEFR is?
Have you heard of A1, A2, B1, B2, C1..?
How good are you at writing English?
How wide is your vocabulary range?
The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages is a European system used to describe language ability on a scale from Beginners up to those who have mastered the language. It makes it easy for anyone to define and measure language ability. It also enables employers and educational institutions to easily compare qualifications and see how they relate to exams that they already know in their own country.
For you, the learner of English, it is a really valuable tool to help you self-assess your own language ability and to notice your own progress. Among other things, the framework describes grammatical accuracy, vocabulary range, reading, writing and listening skills and ability to express meaning.
The great thing is that the framework is translated into most European Languages, so you can study it in your own language in order to help you think about where you should be placed in terms of your English language skills.
You can go the the Council of Europe English Language Portfolio to see official translations of the CEFR Global Scale
The History of the CEFR
The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment, abbreviated as CEFR or CEF, was put together by the Council of Europe as the main part of the project “Language Learning for European Citizenship” between 1989 and 1996. Its main aim is to provide a method of learning, teaching and assessing which applies to all languages in Europe. In November 2001, a European Union Council Resolution recommended using the CEFR to set up systems of validation of language ability. The six reference levels (see below) are becoming widely accepted as the European standard for grading an individual’s language proficiency.
|CEFR: Common European Reference Framework for LanguagesBasic language use|
|Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type. Can introduce him/herself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people he/she knows and things he/she has. Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.||Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment). Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters. Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.|
|Independent language use|
|Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. Can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken. Can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest. Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes & ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.||Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialisation. Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party. Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.|
|Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning. Can express him/herself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions. Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes. Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.||Can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read. Can summarise information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation. Can express him/herself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in more complex situations.|
In Four Court College the classes are structured on the CEFR:
Elementary (CEFR level A1-A2)
Pre-Intermediate (CEFR level A2-B1)
Intermediate (CEFR level B1-B2)
Upper Intermediate (CEFR level B2-C1)
Advanced (CEFR Level C1)